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Saturday
Aug122017

Return of the wolf - by Peter Neary-Chaplin

From the time of his freshest young imagining,
the earliest conjectures,
the first tug of horizon-longing
to the hewing and working of sweet wood
into a squat cabin,
to the dragging of rocks to clear a way for the ploughcut,
the sparkle and rush of mountain water
and the sudden dash of birds around the tiller,
the thrum of bugs in a warm sundown ,
the sculpting of ferocious land,
the carving of order and setting of boundary marks,
the wolf was always there,
present in half-shadow,
near enough to snatch scraps of meat and bone,
pale eyes made orange by the licking flame.

Soon the woman came,
the fire went indoors.
The tiller looked away,
took baths,
embraced the soft joy of her.
There was always much to do,
the summers bloomed and they were full.

Soon long winter took more than summer gave.

I have loved you, loved this, she spoke,
but this is not the love I crave.
This is my best, he sighed, my best.
This is what I have. 

One day she took a nap,
woke after two long days.
The doctor puffed his cheeks,
stared at the floor. 

While the earth mound was still fresh,
even before the wooden cross,
the wolf returned by night.
Scenting where she lay he howled her loss.

 

The fire came back outside
and neither made a sound,
pale eyes made orange by the licking flame,
red muscles stretching on the dusty ground.

From Steady, Pilgrim by Peter Neary-Chaplin

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